Interview: Clash Music speak to Erik Bodin of Little Dragon

How many gigs have you been to in an abandoned fortress? From 6th-9th September Dimensions festival in Croatia will be bouncing bass-heavy beats off the walls of Punta Christo – an eighteenth century citadel. It’s a bit like having piss-up on a National Heritage site, only the dilapidated remains and overgrown walls add a secret rave feel. “It looks awesome,” says Erik Bodin of Little Dragon while in Buenos Aires on a South American tour. “It looks like one of those places that come with a special vibe you can’t take away. I’m very excited about going there.”

They’ll be playing their part in a line-up which collects the best underground electronic acts from around the world and brings them together. Already announced are Carl Craig, Mount Kimbie, Moodymann, and lots more. As one of the only live acts, Eric is relishing the opportunity to bring something different to the festival: “We love house music as much as everyone else but it’s nice to be that odd bird who does something different,” he says excitedly. What are ticket holders in for when they see Little Dragon take to the stage? “They can expect an up-tempo explosion – home made, organic, wholesome, free-range – a big dance omelette!”

The Swedish group’s repertoire has grown increasingly electronic as things have escalated, a change instigated by crowd reaction. “The first album – we were told to put it out basically or there wouldn’t be a deal. I guess we were naïve. We thought we would work more on it. So the first album was a little more chilled out I would say, but then playing live you realise you can’t just be chilled out all the time, people want to party, we want to party. We got tired of ourselves so we decided to step it up for the next album and after that we decided to step it up even more, so maybe we will end up playing some super-fast smurf techno by the end… I don’t know.

“Dance is the most natural reaction to music. We really like those hippy philosophies of getting into one unity and going into a trance. The brain doesn’t have to think as much, you get a good work-out, and you might see some pretty girls too… If you’re single that is.”

The show will be a visual performance as well as having an electronic feel: “We do everything live. We try to always keep things fresh and have an element of fear within the performance and ourselves. It’s good to not always know what’s going to happen,” he explains. Things have been quickly building for the group and their position on the bill at Dimensions reflects this. “We’ve always strived for this. It’s been an amazing journey. We’ve worked really hard so I’d be sad if it wasn’t there but I’m still surprised by it every time I go onstage. We’ve been doing it for such a long time now that it’s part of our lives. We’re constantly on that daily euphoric routine. We’re always searching for that euphoria so it’s hard to think about anything else but when I look at this whole thing from the outside it’s incredible.”

The journey to becoming a world-renowned dance band has been immense, and not without its peaks. “When we collaborated with Gorillaz it definitely felt like things accelerated. It’s nice to see such big crowds knowing your lyrics and singing them back,” he says. Another undeniable step forward was the release of ‘Ritual Union’, an album which propelled them further into public consciousness. “Our idea was to make a very grainy, poppy record. It’s funny how you don’t think there’s a concept to it and then as you look back on it there seems like there was one all along although it wasn’t outspoken. When the track ‘Ritual Union’ came up we realised we has a concept to run with.”

Dimensions has a great sound-system for such an intimate location. Spaces being utilised include a dungeon, a ballroom, and a moat, plus there’ll be beach and boat parties in the daytime. Tickets start at £120. A range of accommodation is available from the traditional camping option to hiring a private villa. Source.

Video: Little Dragon’s ABSOLUT Punch collaboration previewed, “Sunshine”

“In this brand new video, the band takes us into their home studio located in Gothenburg, Sweden where they record and self-produce all of their tunes, like their latest single “Sunshine” which was inspired by ABSOLUT PUNCH (a fruity, frizzy summer-perfect cocktail). Even though the official music video for the track won’t drop till June 27th, you can catch a first listen of “Sunshine” thanks to the video down below.” Source.

Arto Lindsay talks to Yukimi Nagano

Little Dragon’s Yukimi Nagano has a voice both commanding and unique, a heady rush of audio that grabs your ears with soulful pop hooks and doesn’t let go until the music stops—not that you want it to. She’s also never succumbed to a mold, opting instead to reject any con- ventional labeling the music press has applied to Little Dragon’s out- put. In a similarly rebellious vein, Arto Lindsay helped define a new generation of brutal, primitive noise music in the late seventies with legendary no wave pioneers DNA and continues today to push the pro- verbial envelope as both a producer and consummate guitar noncon- formist. Together, Nagano and Lindsay in conversation are not as strange a pairing as you might initially think, as they seem to meld perfectly with dissolving barriers between mainstream and under- ground. Their conversation was both awkward and refreshingly obvi- ous: today’s avant-garde musician challenging yesterday’s, the oddities of influence, the need for escapism, and the frustration of limitations. Are we the only ones daydreaming of the collaborative possibilities? (Click here or image for full interview.)